& Functional Medicine
Whole-person healing at a root-cause level
Integrative and Functional Medicine
Focusing on whole-person healing, in body, mind, and spirit.
What is integrative and functional medicine?
Integrative medicine and functional medicine (colloquially referred to as "holistic medicine") share the same roots of focusing on whole-person healing, in body, mind, and spirit. This is done through using the best of scientific evidence, lifestyle interventions, as well as therapeutic modalities that have withstood the test of time, to achieve healing at a fundamental level.
Integrative medicine is the current term used to refer to the field of medicine that applies the above principles systematically and rigorously. Older terms, such as alternative medicine (which refers to the use of non-conventional therapeutics instead of conventional Western medicine) or complementary medicine (which refers to the use of non-conventional therapeutic strategies along with concurrent conventional treatments, albeit not in an integrated manner), are now less frequently used.
Integrative medicine does not exclude conventional treatments or medications. Rather, it integrates them with complementary therapeutic modalities and lifestyle interventions in a way that allows the patient to maximize the body's ability to heal itself. Often, a well-designed and executed integrative medicine treatment program will eventually eliminate the use of pharmaceutical agents that are costly and side-effects laden, though there can be situations where the continued use of certain medications may be in the best interest of the patient.
Prominent national organizations in the U.S. that advance the field of integrative medicine include the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (ACIMH), an organization made up of over 70 academic Institutions and health systems, and the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM), an inter-professional membership association of health care providers. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is a U.S. government agency (one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health) that funds research related to integrative medicine.
Functional medicine can be considered a subspecialty of integrative medicine. What distinguishes functional medicine from the more general integrative medicine is the use of a systems approach to understanding the patient's biochemical individuality and health life history (antecedents, triggers, and mediators), and the application of this understanding to precision, personalized treatment plans that address the root causes of disease. This systems approach has been refined over time by leaders in functional medicine. A standardized, replicable methodology of delivering this type of clinical care is now promulgated by the Institute for Functional Medicine, a national organization that provides training for and certifies licensed health care practitioners in functional medicine.
Patients in our practice receive a complete functional medicine analysis that allows them to understand and appreciate the root causes of their disease and health problems, so that healing at a root-cause level can be possible.